Pab's Blue Ribbon: Foltyn new GUKPT champion

Paul Foltyn

Outside of the EPT and WSOPE events in London, the biggest poker tournament in the U.K. is the Grand Final of the Grosvenor U.K. Poker Tour. With its £3,000 buy-in, the event attracts the crème de la crème of the U.K.'s poker talent, as well as some more obscure but perhaps equally colorful players.

Recently, 24-year-old Doncaster native Paul "Pab" Foltyn, one of the U.K.'s most successful online tournament players and a strong contender throughout the GUKPT, took down the Grand Final to pocket the £167,050 first-place prize.

Last year's final was won by London regular Mike Ellis, who, when asked this year at the table what it was like to have won the event, said, "I haven't won a hand since!" No doubt he would be more than happy to take a second sip of the supposedly poisoned chalice, though.

It wasn't just the regular circuit pros on the tables this time; Internet stars like John "Johnes147" Eames, Chris "Moorman1" Moorman and winner of the Thanet GUKPT leg Andrew "Tufat" Teng were all in attendance.

So were EPT champions Julian Thew and Andreas Hoivold. The former was, surprisingly, one of the very first out in the second of the two start days, first having his kings cracked by EPT head honcho Surinder Sunar - $75,300

With the blinds starting at $5k/$10k, Richard "Chufty" Ashby, Tony Cascarino and WPT winner Surinder Sunar were hard-pressed to sit idle. (All three, along with Stuart Rutter, are former GUKPT finalists.)

Ashby was first to go when his reraise all-in with A-5 against Paul Foltyn's cut-off raise was met with a swift call as the latter flipped over two bullets, sending "Chufty" home with £13,800 for his troubles.

Surinder Sunar was dispatched next. Despite doubling up early, he then proceeded to dwindle back down before his A K was outdrawn by Eirik Svanes' A 3 on an A 7 8 3 3 board.

Stuart Nash pushed from the button with K-T but was eliminated by Stuart Rutter's J-J, leaving Nash out in seventh and handing Rutter the chip lead.

Cascarino's laddering came to an end when Guy Steel found aces against the former soccer player's A-8.

Meanwhile Rutter, who had lost some of his stack with A-Q to Jeff Duvall's K-J, lost the rest to Svanes after they went to war on a K-5-4 flop. Svanes' A-K had Rutter's K-Q pipped by one, and thus he knocked out his young opponent while attempting to become the first Scandinavian player to win a GUKPT title.

His aggression would end up being his undoing, as he came back from the dinner break having seemingly drunk too much of the reraise juice. First he four-bet all-in pre-flop with K-J against Paul Foltyn's A-K, giving the boy from Doncaster over a million in chips.

Svanes then four-bet all-in again, this time with T-8 against Jeff Duvall, who was a non-believer with K-J. The Norwegian spiked a ten on the flop, but Duvall turned a king, and Svanes was out in fourth, winning £46,900. Not bad for a man who decided to play on a whim two minutes before the competition started using some of his friend Henning Granstad's spare money to enter!

Foltyn knocked out Guy Steel in third with A-5 against K-J, leaving the young Internet pro up against the seasoned Vic regular, the two ends of the poker spectrum in an amazingly topsy-turvy match.

Foltyn started off with a small chip lead of around $1.5 million to the $1.2 million of Duvall. Duvall began taking over the chip lead decisively before Foltyn managed a big double-up all-in pre-flop with A J against Duvall's K 8 after Foltyn flopped the nut flush.

Duvall then rallied, doubling up first with 9-8 against A-3, then with K-J versus K-T to regain the chip lead. Foltyn had his own luck too, check-raising all-in on the turn of an A 7 4 4 board with K Q only to be snapped off by Duvall's J T. But Foltyn caught the 9 river, recovering the chip lead once more.

The struggle became more and more epic, as Duvall survived again, taking back the chip lead after dodging a multitude of bullets with 3-3 versus Foltyn's K-T on a 9-8-7 board.

The lead swung back and forth many times, and it seemed neither was going to be able to claim victory. Finally, after all the big hands, it would be a quiet one that finished it.

In a limped pot, the two players saw a K 8 5 flop, which was checked. On the 7 turn, Duvall checked and Foltyn threw out a small bet; Duvall quickly moved in, and Foltyn called more quickly still.

Duvall flipped 6 5 but was drawing to a split as Foltyn showed 6 4 for the turned straight. The river was the Q, which sealed the win for Foltyn.

Foltyn's previous biggest live cash had been a sixth-place finish in the $5,000 six-max event at the WSOP a couple of years back, but now he can celebrate Christmas as the GUKPT Grand Final Champion.

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